Comparing your exam performance or
preparation with that of your classmates
can cause paralysing stress. When we use
other people’s achievements as a stand-
ard, we probably set our expectations too
high or too low. Make a list of people with
whom you tend to compare yourself and
your performance. Consciously resist it.
Rather use your own performance as a
standard against which to set your goals.
The way we see ourselves and the way we think/
talk to ourselves control the way we will respond
in stressful situations. Each time you start
thinking or saying something negative such as
“I failed last time, I’ll probably fail again this
time” challenge this attitude with a logical,
forceful self-statement: “OK, so I failed last
time but that doesn’t mean I’m going to fail
again this time. I’m better prepared and I’ve
got a new approach to my work.”
This does not mean fantasising. Do not sit
and daydream about being successful. That will
only make you give up at the first hurdle. If you
have an exam coming up, don’t visualise the
A grade; visualise yourself studying hard and
Reward yourself whenever you succeed: if you
manage to concentrate in class or get through
a difficult piece of work, congratulate yourself.
You’ll get to feel good about yourself and your
self-confidence will improve.
Write down some positive statements and say
them aloud on your way to class or to an exam.
Use these examples or come up with your own:
I am confident.
I am enthusiastic.
I do what it takes to reach my goals.
Manage the fear
of competing for
Final-year students in particular are
often almost paralysed by the thought
that they may not find a job when they
finish studying. Work out a step-by-step
approach to looking for that job, do as
much as you can, and remember that
you cannot control every outcome.
Also consider different possibilities
to achieve your goal – you may
be too fixated on one career path.
Perhaps there is another way.
Other people – parents, lecturers,
friends – may have expectations and
demands that can make you feel
pressured and stressed. Monitor your
performance honestly and regularly.
You are the best judge of your
achievements. Set your own realistic